The G-20 summit fails to bridge the divide on pandemic and climate change

A few days ago, one of President Biden’s best aides, who flew across the Atlantic Ocean aboard Air Force One at two international meetings a few days ago, was pleased that China and Russia would not attend.

Without them, “the U.S. and Europe will drive the bus together on important global issues,” National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters.

But even if they were behind the wheel, the ride was awkward. Despite Biden’s success in resolving conflicts with allies such as France and the European Union, new rifts are spreading around the world, undermining the unity needed to resolve current crises and prevent future ones.

Some of these divides seem to have widened in the meantime the G-20 summit in Rome, where Biden spent the last two days before heading to Glasgow, Scotland, on Monday, where he will spend two more days in COP26 Conference on Climate Change.

Developing countries are running out of patience with the slow distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, and world leaders have made little commitment to speed up the process. They seem to be rich countries exit from the pandemic while others continue to suffer from economic shocks.

The G-20, which brings together the world’s most powerful countries to discuss economic and other issues, also failed to give the desired impetus to COP26, undermining hopes of success in preventing the most catastrophic effects of global warming.

Leaders could only promise to achieve carbon neutrality by the middle of the century and finish financing coal-fired power plants abroad.

The joint statement failed to speed up the fight against climate change because it only echoed the promises made by China, the world’s largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, earlier this year.

The lack of action was at odds with the emergency warnings typical of the summit, which took place in the convention center known as the “cloud,” where a white structure is hanging in a rectangular glass building.

“Are we going to act now, face the costs of transition and succeed,” said Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, who hosted the G-20, “or are we delaying operations and later paying a much higher price and failing.”

The startling joint statement seemed to fulfill the fears expressed by UN Secretary-General António Guterres before the summit began.

“Let’s be clear – there is a serious risk that Glasgow will not reach,” he said on Friday. “Several recent climate forecasts could give the impression of a more rosy picture. Unfortunately, it’s an illusion. “

Climate progress is partly threatened by the global energy crisis. A senior administration official, who was not authorized to speak publicly about the ongoing negotiations, said Biden used the G-20 summit to encourage oil-rich countries to increase their production to mitigate rising prices.

The official said Biden “stressed that we need to see an adequate energy supply at this point when we make the long-term transition to a carbon-free economy.”

U.S. officials have tried to lower expectations that the G-20 will lead to progress in the pandemic. They described a conference organized by Biden during the September UN General Assembly, where The US has strengthened its own commitments and gained more from other countries than major developments.

But the lack of progress in vaccine distribution remained a noticeable absence at such a large summit as the G-20, which typically wanted to serve as a platform for global collaboration.

Human vaccine, an international coalition of advocacy organizations, has called on countries to suspend intellectual property rights to make it easier to produce more doses and tests around the world. No such commitment was made.

J. Stephen Morrison, director of the Center for Global Health Policy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said the world would have to give 2 billion doses over the next two months to achieve its goal of vaccinating 40% of each country’s population. until the end of the year. He said the G-20 had failed to draw up a “concrete action plan”.

“The pandemic will change in nature into one that will affect mainly the poorest countries, which are the least equipped and the most disadvantaged,” he said. “It will be very difficult to avoid new versions.”

In addition, there is still friction as to how the pandemic started in China. President Xi, who made the comments virtually, said that “the stigmatization of the virus and the politicization of traceability are contrary to the spirit of solidarity against the pandemic.”

The U.S. intelligence community announced on Friday report he says he cannot determine whether the coronavirus started with a laboratory accident or transmission from animals to humans, and that China’s refusal to cooperate with international investigations is partly to blame for the uncertainty.

Despite the global turmoil, Biden recorded some important victories on economic issues during the summit.

His administration helped reach a comprehensive implementation agreement world minimum tax, which is supposed to prevent companies from seeking tax havens abroad. The deal was backed by G-20 participants and is expected to take effect in 2023. It is still unclear whether Biden can achieve such a tax passed by Congress.

Biden also resolved a trade dispute with the European Union that began during the Trump administration. Under the agreement, the US will introduce a quota system under which tariffs will be levied on imports of metals in excess of a certain amount.

The EU, meanwhile, will remove retaliatory tariffs on US imports of whiskey, motorcycles and other items.

“Today is a testament to the power of American diplomacy and strong partnerships to deliver tangible benefits to American workers and middle-class families in America,” Biden said during a Sunday address with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

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